Teachers' perceptions and school-based provisions in the domain of values development: Case-studies of six government primary schools in Bangladesh

Year: 2012

Author: Tajin, Rukhsana, Dally, Kerry, Lovat, Terry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:

A school's endeavour to promote students' moral and values development   demands an amalgamation of a number of good practices. Not only should the school ethos and policies attach due importance to the values needs of children, but the thoughts, actions and practices of teachers should also reflect the school's values. In addition to positive teacher-student interactions, children's values and moral development are best promoted by constructive and collaborative learning experiences and by pedagogical practices which provide opportunities for students to think, feel and act on the values that they are learning. Finally, the overall school culture needs to foster a safe and supportive environment for all children as well as provide a collegial network for teachers with effective leadership and a shared vision. These features of schooling were investigated in six government primary schools in Bangladesh, with a view to understanding the extent to which the good practices of values education are available in these schools. This article summarises the findings from an analysis of teacher interviews and focus group discussions as well as the observations of values lessons and other school-wide activities and events. While the outcomes from the interviews and focus group discussions provided a detailed description of the teachers' perceptions of values and values education, the results obtained from the analysis of the school and class observations became instrumental in critically examining the teachers' views and claims in light of their actual behaviours and practices. The pedagogies implemented in values lessons were characterised by a teacher-centred, didactic mode of lesson delivery, as well as very limited provisions for students to participate in higher order thinking activities or cooperative learning practices. Finally, this paper outlines a range of issues and challenges-identified by the teachers and often corroborated by the observations-which appear to be hindering the capacity of teachers to be effective values educators in the realm of Bangladeshi primary education.

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